Respectful Insolence

Well, well, well, well.

Remember how recently autism quack Dr. Mark Geier finally ran afoul of Maryland’s medical board for subjecting autistic children to unethical and potentially dangerous treatments with Lupron? Briefly, his license was suspended on an emergency basis, and, as a result, a lot of attention was brought to bear not just on the father, but on his son David Geier as well, who had been working with his father for years and, to all appearances, practicing medicine without a license. Personally, ever since I first learned of Mark and David Geier’s dubious medicine six years ago, I always wondered how they could get away with it for so long. In particular, I wondered how David Geier, who has no medical degree–actually no degree at all that would qualify him to participate in the care of patients, no nursing degree, no degree to be a medical tech, nothing–managed for so long to be his father’s right hand man. Either he had to be very careful not to do anything that could be considered patient care, or he had to be extremely fortunate that he got away with it for so long.

It turns out that he was extremely fortunate for having gotten away with it for so long:

The Maryland panel that oversees doctors in the state has charged a man with practicing medicine without a license just weeks after his father’s license was suspended for putting autistic children at risk.

The Maryland Board of Physicians says David Geier worked with his father, Dr. Mark Geier, at the Rockville and Owings Mills offices of Genetic Consultants of Maryland, where they used a drug therapy that autism experts say is based on junk science.

The pair has built a national following among parents who believe autism is linked to the mercury in vaccines, a theory discredited by mainstream medicine. They developed a treatment using Lupron, a testosterone suppressant approved for prostate cancer and ovarian fibroids, as well as in chemically castrating sex offenders.

In children, it’s used for “precocious puberty,” which the board said Mark Geier over-diagnosed in autistic children.

J. Steven Wise, a lawyer for the Geiers, said Thursday that David Geier “categorically denies the charges.” Mark Geier has already appealed his suspension.

I’ve written extensively about the Geiers’ quackery before, beginning over five years ago. Basically, somehow the Geiers came up with an idea so wrong it’s not even wrong, a spinoff of the scientifically discredited notion that autism is “mercury toxicity” due to the thimerosal preservative that used to be in many childhood vaccines. Somehow, some way, the Geiers got it in their head that testosterone binds mercury and that decreasing levels of testosterone would therefore make chelation therapy work better to get rid of that nonexistent mercury toxicity. Never mind that there’s no evidence that testosterone binds to mercury the way the Geiers claim under physiological conditions. Worse, in order to get the expensive drug Lupron paid for by third party payors, the Geiers had a propensity to diagnose many of their patients with “precocious puberty,” whether they met the medical criteria for the diagnosis or not, sometimes whether they had undergone puberty at a normal age or not. Worse, their quackery metastasized to different states, as the Geiers set up a veritable chain of autism treatment clinics promoting their protocol.

As usual, Kathleen Seidel is already on the case. She’s even posted the actual charges against David Geier. In brief, David Geier has been (appropriately, in my opinion) charged with practicing medicine without a license. Examples are listed, including:

17. Parent A scheduled an appointment for Patient A to be seen by Dr. Geier on May 19, 2008 at the Genetic Centers of America’s office in Rockville, Maryland.

18. On May 19, 2008, after waiting with her son for approximately One (1) hour in the waiting room, Parent A and her son were taken to an office where the Respondent was seated behind a desk.

19. Parent A and the Respondent discussed genetic testing for approximately the first half-hour of the visit.

20. Parent A reported that the Respondent, after asking very few questions regarding Patient A’s medical history and symptoms, told her that he was absolutely certain that her son seemed to be a “typical high-testosterone kid” whose growth would be stunted if his testosterone production continued at its current pace.

21. Board staff interviewed Parent A during the course of the investigation, Parent A stated that she did not recall whether the Respondent had identified himself as a physician at the May 19, 2008 office visit; however, she had assumed that the Respondent was a physician because he was the only person with whom she had spoken about her son at that visit. She also noted that the Respondent “had this certainty about him.”

22. At no time during the May 19, 2008 office visit did Parent A see, much less speak to, Dr. Geier. The Respondent was the only person who examined her son.

23. According to Parent A, the Respondent performed an ultrasound examination on Patient A, who by then was too restless to sit or lie still on the examining table. The Respondent told Parent A that he needed an ultrasound of Patient A’s thyroid. The Respondent followed Patient A as Patient A walked around the room, attempting to examine his neck and abdomen by tapping him with the ultrasound wand.

I’m sorry, but if this is true, it’s a slam dunk case. David Geier not only took a medical history, made diagnoses, and even performed a medical test on the child. David Geier didn’t even have the training to be an ultrasound technician, much less to do a history and physical on a patient and diagnose him with “precocious puberty.” Among the charges listed is that the clinic note for the visit recorded that the patient had undergone a “comprehensive” abdominal and a thyroid ultrasounds. As if that weren’t enough, David Geier also noted a “psychological examination,” in which he recorded, “It is apparent based upon examination of the DSM-IV criteria that [Patient A]‘s present symptoms are compatible with a diagnosis of pervasive developmental delay – not otherwise specified (sic).” That’s clearly making a diagnosis. David Geier then ordered a battery of 26 laboratory tests. For all this and evaluations over the course of four visits, the parents were billed a total of over $1,000.

Similar stories are documented for Patients B, C, and D, as well as postings by parents in Internet discussion forums that describe Mark and David Geier as “working as a team” and describe other incidents of David Geier seeing patients and practicing medicine without a license. At this point in my career, I’ve held medical licenses in four different states. I still hold a medical license in two states. Having gone through the process of obtaining a medical license in four states, it boggles my mind that someone like David Geier can do the things he’s done and that he’s been able to do them for six years. We can only hope that this time the full force of the law comes down on Geier père et fils. Still, even that’s not enough. Here’s hoping that the full force of the law comes down on this not-so-dynamic duo hard in every state in which they’ve subjected an autistic child to what is in essence chemical castration.

Finally, not long ago, I asked why the autism biomed movement so loves Andrew Wakefield but not Mark and David Geier, why it’s willing to circle the wagons and attack those trying to stop Wakefield but, apparently, not the Geiers. I have to wonder whether even these latest charges will be enough for the quackfest known as Autism One to boot Mark and David Geier from its list of speakers.

My guess is, even though the Geiers don’t get the same love Wakefield does, their prosecution will revive their cachet.

Comments

  1. #1 Matthew Cline
    May 20, 2011

    Basically, somehow, some way, the Geiers got it in their head that testosterone binds mercury and that decreasing levels of testosterone would therefore make chelation therapy work better to get rid of that nonexistent mercury toxicity.

    This is just a guess, but it seems likely that they were thinking “boys are four times more likely to be autistic than girls, maybe it has something to do with testosterone”, they already thought autism was caused by mercury, so they did a scientific literature search on “mercury AND testosterone” and came across the crystallography paper “The crystal structure and absolute configuration of the 2:1 complex between testosterone and mercuric chloride”.

  2. #2 Old Rockin' Dave
    May 20, 2011

    I would think that a good prosecutor could make out a case for battery based on conducting examinations under false pretenses, along with endangering the life and health of a minor. If these charges were pressed home in every state where they occurred, the Geiers might never walk free again.
    If they are not at the level of a Mengele, they certainly are in the same league and deserve to have every charge that might stick thrown at them, with recommendations for the maximum penalty.

  3. #3 The Founding Mothers
    May 20, 2011

    Forgive my lack of understanding of the US legal system (I.R. Yoorpean), but if they can be shown to have committed these crimes in different states, doesn’t it quickly become a Federal issue?

    I guess at this stage, it’s only a question for the Medical Board (according to the pdf link above from Neurodiversity), but can/will it go beyond this?

  4. #4 kurdele nakısı
    May 20, 2011

    I would think that a good prosecutor could make out a case for battery based on conducting examinations under false pretenses, along with endangering the life and health of a minor. If these charges were pressed home in every state where they occurred, the Geiers might never walk free again.
    If they are not at the level of a Mengele, they certainly are in the same league and deserve to have every charge that might stick thrown at them, with recommendations for the maximum penalty. thank post kurdele nakısı

  5. #5 Lawrence
    May 20, 2011

    I’m pretty pissed that all of this happened in Maryland (when they weren’t out selling franchises around the country). At least our people finally moved against them – really wish it could have happened sooner.

    I’ll touch base with the OAG’s office (need to contact them for something else anyway), and see what’s doing there.

  6. #6 Narad
    May 20, 2011

    I’d give a shiny nickel for a really pissed-off competing Armenian spambot.

  7. #7 K
    May 20, 2011

    FWIW, I filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. An investigator called me earlier in the week to acknowledge receipt of my complaint, and also to let me know they’d already started the investigation. One of their chemical castration mills just happens to be in the state capitol, so I suspect a parent may have beat me to it.

  8. #8 Todd W.
    May 20, 2011

    Not being a lawyer, I’m curious about whether each instance of David Geier practicing medicine would count separately. The charges indicate four different patients, and there may be evidence of more.

    And these charges are no small matter, even if it all amounts to a single count. In Maryland (as I’m sure it is elsewhere), practicing without a license is a felony. Hello permanent record.

    Another question I raised about all this: what happens to the governor of Maryland, who appointed David Geier to the state’s Autism Commission as a “diagnostician”? Is he going to take responsibility for his decision, or will he be a weasel and try to shift blame elsewhere, like onto the current secretary of health?

  9. #9 Mu
    May 20, 2011

    Yoorpean, medical licenses are issued by the individual states, and as such, any violation of licensing rules is a state offense. The main way the feds get involved would be if he’d used the mail to do his business.

  10. #10 Todd W.
    May 20, 2011

    @Mu

    I would imagine the Feds may also get involved, perhaps, if there was some manner of insurance fraud.

  11. #11 Reuben Gaines
    May 20, 2011

    @Todd The current Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Josh Sharfstein, MD, came in a few months ago, before David Geier was appointed. The Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Disabilities had more to do with the appointment, from the department’s side, than even the former Secretary John Colmers.

    It is my opinion that she will be the one asked to fall on her sword.

  12. #12 Vicki
    May 20, 2011

    The feds don’t necessarily get involved because someone is accused of the same crime, or related crimes, in more than one state. Sometimes, the states either prosecute in sequence, or discuss which state should take the lead on it.

    The feds tend to get involved if there’s a specific federal law, or if the criminal activity crossed a state border. Often something can be prosecuted either way, and the decision may depend on things like whether there’s a more serious federal penalty (sometimes the U.S. Attorney General takes over murder cases in places like New York that have no death penalty, for example). Or they’ll step in if it’s a complicated case and the local/state government doesn’t have the resources.

    There might be room for the federal government to get involved, depending on details of how the Geiers’ different clinics interacted, because “interstate commerce” covers a multitude of things, if the courts want it to. But they don’t have to, and the Department of Justice may not see any reason not to leave this to the states. (If there’s an ambitious prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for Maryland, he or she might grab it, of course. Conversely, the feds might take it off the hands of a Maryland district attorney who is worried about controversy.)

    #include std.disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor a paralegal, and have no formal legal training.

  13. #13 Antalyahotel
    May 20, 2011

    Forgive my lack of understanding of the US legal system (I.R. Yoorpean), but if they can be shown to have committed these crimes in different states, doesn’t it quickly become a Federal issue? yes blogs admine antalyahotel

  14. #14 Prometheus
    May 20, 2011

    This is not going to look good on David Geier’s resume. Or on an application for graduate school.

    Maybe he should just plan on going to chiropractic school – they’d probably welcome him as a kindred spirit, since he’s already shown that he wants to play “doctor” but doesn’t want to put in the effort to actually be one.

    Prometheus

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    May 20, 2011

    @ Prometheus: or go to ND school- like Carolyn Dean who lost her MD ( certificate) in Canada, got her ND, and moved to the US ( see Quackwatch)

  16. #16 lilady
    May 20, 2011

    It’s good news that Maryland is going after Junior for practicing medicine without a license. Now maybe I was a bit fixated on the kid’s education…but what the hell is a B.A. Biology degree? So, I did some internet investigation and such a degree will never get you into a Masters of Science program, no less a doctoral program. If you want to become a science teacher in a K-12 program, a B.A. Biology degree would not be looked upon as qualifying you to teach science.

    I still maintain that Medicaid fraud is a valid charge, so perhaps the Attorneys General in the states where the Geiers “practiced” will conduct joint investigations. Hopefully the individual private medical insurance companies will join the legal action, as well. To me, it is major insurance fraud. Again, I state in cases of the most egregious of medical fraud, criminal charges will be brought for more time in jail.

    In cases where the Lupron therapy actually worked chemically castrating kids, there could be criminal charges against the Geiers as well. Should the “natural” guardian of a child refuse to press criminal charges, let the court appoint a temporary guardian to pursue criminal charges against this duo for their experimentation/injury of a disabled child.

  17. #17 Catherina
    May 20, 2011

    what lilady says – I want to see Papa and Baby Doc in jail for a long time and insurance companies usually would have the longest breath to go after fraudsters like them!

  18. #18 Old Rockin' Dave
    May 20, 2011

    I notice that the same comment spammers have struck again. They link back to a Turkish tourism website and another one that is all in Turkish. Do they think that jamming up blog comments by copying things that have already been posted will make people want to visit Turkey? Is there no one in Turkey who can have an original thought, or is the Turkish Internet filled up with spammers, plagiarists and morons? Go ahead, prove me wrong, you disgraces to Turkey.

  19. #19 Scott Cunningham
    May 20, 2011

    I love the quote from his legal counsel:

    Joseph A. Schwartz III said the treatment may be considered “a crazy therapy but it works” on especially difficult patients. The lawyers produced affidavits in support of Mark Geier and Lupron therapy from parents of five children.

    Translation:
    “I know my client is batshit crazy, but look — testimonials!”

    Given they’re actually charging Mr. Geir, I think the magic dazzle has worn thin and the authorities recognise cherry picked testimonials for what they are.

  20. #20 Anton P. Nym
    May 20, 2011

    Just an FYI/flagging of a spam comment here: #12 as of this comment, left by the Turing-Test-flunking “Antalyahotel”.

    — Steve

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2011

    lilady — it depends on the BA. My alma mater (St Olaf College) gives out BAs in the sciences which are highly regarded and will indeed get you into a reputable MS or PhD program. For instance, my brother got his BA in physics there and then enrolled in the University of Minnesota to earn his PhD. And he’s not unusual; a lot of Ole science grads go on to postgraduate science degrees, and the college actively encourages them to do so and provides resources and guidance to help them get accepted into such a program.

  22. #22 lilady
    May 20, 2011

    Omitted from my previous posting…Oops. I love the internet blogs about pseudo-science…when investigators use them to bring charges against Baby Doc (clever Catherina!).

  23. “Worse, in order to get the expensive drug Lupron paid for by third party payors, the Geiers had a propensity to diagnose many of their patients with “precocious puberty,” whether they met the medical criteria for the diagnosis or not, sometimes whether they had undergone puberty at a normal age or not.”

    It sounds to me like the next step in the process is criminal insurance fraud charges.

    -Karl Withakay

  24. #24 Prometheus
    May 20, 2011

    lilady asks:

    “Now maybe I was a bit fixated on the kid’s education…but what the hell is a B.A. Biology degree?”

    Where I got my undergraduate degree, you could get a B.A. degree in Biology – the total credits were the same, but the B.A. had less science and more humanities. Where I am now, the difference is that the B.A. requires less mathematics and more “social sciences”.

    However, in the Biology Department (my dept.), the course requirements for the various “tracks” (organismal, cellular, molecular, etc.) are such that the requirements for a B.S. degree would be met automatically, so nobody gets a B.A. (I suppose they could insist on it, but nobody has, yet).

    I tried to look up the University of Maryland’s requirements, but their website doesn’t appear to have the distinction between Biology B.A. and B.S. on it.

    Prometheus

  25. #25 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 20, 2011

    Where I went to college you could get an S.B. (we didn’t call it B.S.) in various humanities such as Music or English. The minimum science requirements justified the use of the term.

  26. #26 Todd W.
    May 20, 2011

    Breaking News: According to Trine Tsouderos, the governor of Maryland has just fired David Geier from the state’s Autism Commission. Will update my post once the official word is posted on the MD web site.

  27. #27 Eric Lund
    May 20, 2011

    what the hell is a B.A. Biology degree?

    As others have pointed out, the distinction between B.A. and B. S. depends on what undergraduate university you attended.

    Many schools, particularly of the SLAC persuasion, give only B.A. degrees. The ones who get such degrees in STEM majors at the more reputable SLACs generally don’t have any disadvantage at getting into grad school. Although less common, you also see schools that give only the B.S.; for instance, if a student at my undergraduate alma mater chooses to major in philosophy, he will graduate with a B.S. rather than a B.A. since the latter degree is not offered.

    Some larger universities offer both degrees, with requirements that may or may not differ. If your undergraduate degree is from such a school, then yes, a B.A. could handicap you if you apply to grad school in a STEM field, but that could be overcome if your recommendation letters are strong enough. And in some cases the distinction will be moot since the major course requirements also satisfy any additional requirements for a B.S. rather than a B.A.

    Most of the time, the distinction (when there is one) is unimportant. You get into grad/professional school or get your first job on the strength of your grades, recommendation letters, and (in the case of grad/professional school) test scores. Once you are in grad school, nobody cares which degree you have, only that you have one.

  28. #28 AutismNewsBeat
    May 20, 2011

    The current Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Josh Sharfstein, MD, came in a few months ago, before David Geier was appointed. The Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Disabilities had more to do with the appointment, from the department’s side, than even the former Secretary John Colmers.

    By “a few months ago”, do you mean two years ago? Because David Geier was appointed in 2009.

    The Geiers’ business partner, Dr. John L. Young, was once president of the Montgomery County Medical Society.

    “From 2007 to 2009, (Young) was asked by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to serve as a Commissioner for the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, and in 2009, was appointed by Governor O’Malley to serve on the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland.”

    http://www.tabloidmedicine.com/?p=228

    The credulity, it burns.

  29. #29 Calli Arcale
    May 20, 2011

    Mephistopheles:

    Where I went to college you could get an S.B. (we didn’t call it B.S.) in various humanities such as Music or English. The minimum science requirements justified the use of the term.

    St Olaf actually did offer one degree other than the BA, despite being a small, liberal arts college. As well-regarded as the science departments are, it’s even better known for its *music*. So the one non-BA degree it offers on a regular basis is the Bachelor of Music. However, you cannot get a biology version of that, as it wouldn’t mean anything — though it’s rare for a music major to be a double-major there (due to the intensity of St Olaf’s music major), those who manage it actually come away with two degrees.

  30. #30 Chris
    May 20, 2011

    Also, some employers have a different take on BA versus BS degrees, especially for science. I worked for a large manufacturer that hired both scientist and engineers. My group was next to the one that specialized in materials, with both chemists and engineers of various kinds (chemical, ceramic, etc).

    Three of us female engineers started to chat with a new hire to the materials group, and she was fuming because she was told that she could only be a technical aide, not an engineer/scientist (which pays much more). The reason she was given was that she had a BA in chemistry, not a BS.

    The three of us consisted of one BS electrical engr., one BS civil engr. and me with a BS in aerospace engineering. We asked her why she went for a BA instead of BS, and she replied because it was easier. All three of us rolled our eyes.

    (By the way, that company had some strict hiring rules, but they could be overturned. One guy who had a BS in general engineering was hired as an aide, but by showing performance he was upgraded to an engineer. My replacement had been a tech aide, but by using the company’s generous education programs received a BS engineering degree.)

  31. #31 Chemmomo
    May 20, 2011

    More on BA vs BSc: I graduated from one those small liberal arts colleges where the only degree offered was BA. Those of us planning higher education in science or medical school took additional science courses to fulfill the requirements for admission into those programs, and our transcripts show this.

    The bottom line: we took the same courses as students who earned a BSc from institutions that offer them, but our degrees are still called “Bachelor of Arts.

  32. #32 Chris
    May 20, 2011

    Wasn’t David Geier accepted into graduate school and actually taking classes for while? I think I remember reading that somewhere.

  33. #33 lilady
    May 20, 2011

    @ Chris: Maybe Junior graduated or is certified as a “diagnostician”? Hmmm, I wonder what qualifies you as a “diagnostician”…which entity offers certification in that field or which graduate school confers the “MA/Msc-Diagnostician” degree? I’d love to see his degree or certification in that discipline.

  34. #34 Kathleen Seidel
    May 20, 2011

    “The Geiers’ business partner, Dr. John L. Young, was once president of the Montgomery County Medical Society.”

    Dr. Young has also been included on the roster of DAN! doctors, and has advertised that he offers Lupron injections:
    http://replay.web.archive.org/20070703041512/http://www.autismwebsite.com/ari-lists/us/John_Young,_M.D..html

  35. #35 ER Doc
    May 20, 2011

    More on BA vs BS: when I attended the University of Iowa, most departments in the College of Liberal Arts offered both the BA and the BS. The BA required proficiency equal to four semesters of a foreign language. (Most of the science departments insisted on a language in which primary scientific research was published; at that time French, German, or Russian.) The BS required a semester of calculus. I met both requirements, but the Zoology department only offered the BA, because they wanted their grads to meet the foreign language requirement, so my undergrad degree was a BA double major in zoology and psychology.

  36. #36 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 21, 2011

    My aero. eng. degree from GA Tech is a Bachelor of AE, not a BS. I never quite understood the distinction.

    @Chris

    Where’d you get your degree? The company you speak of sounds like a big airplane company in the Seattle area.

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  38. #39 MikeMa
    May 21, 2011

    Thanks for the link Marilyn. It seems the state wanted a diverse autism panel. You know, from the sane to the insane.

  39. #40 lilady
    May 21, 2011

    Okay, I started this “What the hell is a B.A. Biology degree?”

    Junior supposedly graduated from Maryland with honors with this degree. I could be mistaken, but I don’t see such a degree being presently offered. Anyone have access to alumnae lists at Maryland? Did he really graduate from there…or is it more of Junior’s claiming credentials (diagnostician?) that he simply does not have.

    Just to clarify, when you attend college to get a nursing degree it is always a BSc-Nursing degree.

    Many college grads with a BA or BSc in another field decide at a later time to go into the nursing field. Most colleges and universities offer programs that are very intensive to accomplish this. It consists of two years…summers too, to complete the program and the degree is awarded in August…after completion of the nursing credits and hospital rotations.

  40. #41 Chance Gearheart, AAS, EMT-P
    May 22, 2011

    @40k lilady:

    Not always. Many people are still going to ASN and AASN programs, as they take two years less and you still have teh same scope, sans the management pay.

  41. #42 lilady
    May 22, 2011

    @ Chance Gearheart: The subject of this thread is Bachelors degrees, not undergrad (Associated Sciences) offered in two year community colleges. As I stated above BA degrees in nursing are not conferred in 4 year colleges and universities and what qualifies a graduate to sit for nursing boards and become licensed.

    Licensed Registered Nurses who have an AS-Nursing degree and wish to pursue a BSc in nurses may do so, in a special program offered by 4 year colleges and universities by taking all the science classes…such as organic and inorganic chemistry, medical epidemiology, statistics, etc. There are even programs for those who possess an AA degree, with some (transferable) credits. Please don’t comment on nursing education and comparing an AS-nurse to a BSc nurse…you are out of your field of expertise.

  42. #43 Broken Link
    May 23, 2011

    “Tim” Bolen has leaped to the Geiers defense. I guess it takes someone that wacky to defend the indefensible. His rant is filled with totally off the wall and defamatory statements, and of course, ending with “stay tuned, there is more coming”. In a nutshell, it’s the Geiers, brave warriors against the forces of the state. Closed, arbitrary hearings with no evidence given (snort!) and of course the uniformly happy parents who have been misrepresented.

    I’m not going to link, but you can find it by googling:

    “Attack on Mark and David Geier”

  43. #44 lilady
    May 23, 2011

    @ Broken Link: Thanks for the information on Tim Bolen…who now describes himself as an expert in “Crisis Managment”. He used to act as a flunky…er “freelance consultant in finances and taxes”, for Hulda Clark and her son. BTW, the former consultant in finances and taxes has a number of tax liens against him in California.

    Well, at least Bolen is consistent by always backing quack doctors and pretend doctors such as the Geier tag team.

  44. #45 Confounding
    May 24, 2011

    On the “BA in Biology” thing:

    I have one. I went on to a very good graduate school with it. My alma mater actually let us choose if we wanted to designate our degree a BA or a BS. I actively chose a BA, because by that time, in addition to all the science and math requirements, I had accumulated close to a double-major’s worth of credits in a particular bit of humanities. I went to my school for a liberal arts education, and chose to have my degree reflect that.

    It’s never drawn comment, anywhere.

    Good on Maryland for going after the Geiers – this kind of thing has got to stop. Preying on desperate parents, unlicenced medicine…it’s appaling.

  45. #46 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    May 28, 2011

    About BA degrees in science subjects – a UK perspective.

    There are three universities in England that award a Bachelor of Arts degree in science subjects, including biology: the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the Open University (although the Open Unviersity has moved away from this practice since it introduced its BSc – Honours and Ordinary – degrees in the mid-1990s). The reasoning in the the Oxbridge system is that one’s first degree is a BA, regardless of subject and, in the Cambridge system, one is admitted to a Tripos rather than a School (for biology, it would be the relevant courses in the Natural Sciences Tripos, for example). I’m not sure how it goes in the Oxford system … I was never really interested in applying there.

    The reasoning in the Open University very simple: that was the only degree that the university’s senate had approved and they didn’t really expect to have to deviate from that. One of the main reasons for the setting up of the Open University was the great number of teachers who had qualified with the Certificate in Education from various teacher training colleges, and were looking to extend their qualifications to the level of a bachelor degree. The CertEd as an initial teacher training qualification has been phased out, and the BEd took over for a long while. Even that’s all changed now… hardly anywhere outside of Oxbridge does a BA in sciences.

    Oddly enough, Finnish universities – such as the one I finished my BA-equivalence at – don’t discriminate at master’s level, but they do at bachelor’s level: arts degrees are BHum, and sciences are under the BNatSc system. The master’s degree in arts or in science is Master of Philosophy (not to be confused with the UK one).

    It’s not really in the name of the degree: it’s more about how one has built one’s study profile up.

    In the Vulture Kid’s case… he’s been behaving like a twat: his BA was – as far as I could make it out – suitable for teaching, not research or post-graduate study; and certainly not for medical practice!

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